CHS alum tries hand at pro golf

Courtesy photo: New Mexico State University Clovis High alum Travis Reid is hoping to turn a solid collegiate golf career into success at the professional level.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Travis Reid’s first summer as a professional golfer will include a lot of questions, such as:

* Can I afford the expenses I’m incurring for this trip?

* Will I win enough for next weekend?

* Can I hang in a circuit where pretty much everybody was a conference champion like me?

But once he pulls out a club, the problems disappear — if only for a few hours.

“Once I stand on the first tee box,” said Reid, the reigning Western Athletic Conference champion, “there’s not much else in the world that matters.”

The 2005 Clovis High graduate’s pro career started Thursday with a 6-over 78 on the first day of the Socorro Open, leaving him around 45th place out of about 60 golfers. But he came back with a 67 on Friday — qualifying for the top 30 to play in Saturday’s final round, and finished with a 71 to end at even-par 216. giving him a finish somewhere around 15th place.

“After that first-round 78, all I could do was suck it up and shoot the best I could,” Reid said. “I felt I made a pretty good comeback.”

He did it despite severe stomach pains. Reid said Saturday doctors told him his gall bladder may not be functioning properly, and he planned to have more tests done early next week.

“Hopefully, by then we can figure it out,” he said.

Reid, who still has 28 credits to earn at New Mexico State University, said he’s probably going to play seven or eight professional events this summer — a few at the Nationwide Tour, one step below the Professional Golfers Association Tour — before he goes back to finish up his marketing degree.

“My goal is to play well and make money,” Reid said, “but we’ll see what happens.”

He’s finding in professional golf, you’ve got to spend money to make money. His entry into Socorro was only $350, but playing on the Gateway Tour in Arizona carries an entry fee of around $1,500 for each of the 30 tournaments. And that’s before the airfare, the rental cars and the hotel rooms.

“If you’ve got a lot of money, it’s no problem to fly out Monday and qualify,” Reid said. “In my position, you never know if you’re going to make it to the tournament.”

Travis’ father, Gregg Reid, said he hates the idea of hitting up Clovis for sponsorship, because the community has come through for years, including raising money to send Travis to the U.S. Amateur Open last year.

“We were just hoping that someone, somewhere would come forward,” Gregg Reid said. “He’s really established in Las Cruces. He’s got good rapport with a lot of businessmen over there.

“I just hope that Travis can give back to the community one of these days. We’re just kind of limited.”

Travis Reid wanted to be a professional athlete when he was growing up, like most boys. Early in his high school days, he chose golf over baseball because he was slightly better and he could last a lot longer.

“Some guys are just maturing, winning on the PGA Tour at 40 years old,” Travis Reid said. “That’s the end of a career in other sports.”

At some point, Gregg Reid knew it might be his job as a father to tell him pro golf was unrealistic. But that speech kept getting harder to give as Travis got better and adjusted his attitude to survive the links.

“He decided to quit being so hard on himself,” said the father. “It’s not an easy game. He’s always been so competitive that he’s really been hard on himself.”

The positives changes culminated in a WAC championship peformance, with Travis shooting a 7-under 209 to take individual honors and give NMSU a one-stroke team victory over Fresno State.

“It was really nice to see the maturity and the calmness,” Gregg Reid said. “You couldn’t tell if he had a good shot or a bad shot.”

Whlie at Henderson, Nev., he caught the eye of Butch Harmon, a former coach for Tiger Woods. Harmon’s advice: Get Travis to a Monday qualifier at the Nationwide Tour, because he’s ready.

Travis Reid plans to do just that, while he takes in lessons on golf, and how to come to grips with adulthood.

“I think the biggest thing is, all my life, everything’s given to you,” he said. “In junior high, college, high school, you’ve always had a coach to do things for you. Now you’ve got to book that flight, you’ve got to find that hotel.”

But as long as he ends up on that tee, Reid figures he’ll be OK.

“Where I’m at right now, I’ve got one more year of school,” he said. “I’m not going to dwell on the summer if I don’t do well in the professional events.”